The final day of the National Hunt season is upon us at Sandown this weekend where Brian Hughes will be crowned Champion Jockey and Paul Nicholls, who had five winners on this card twelve months ago and has got big chances in all seven contests this time round, will be crowned Champion trainer.
It is also the fifth and final day of the Punchestown festival over in Ireland.
GREANATEEN is bidding for a third straight win in the Celebration Chase at a course and distance he excels at. His chase form at this track reads 21112 with a second in the Tingle Creek to Edwardstone in December still form that Jonbon needs to prove he can match.
Jonbon had a penalty kick at Aintree and is really taking on the big boys here and needs to prove he is up to it. Editeur Du Gite was a gutsy winner of the Clarence House chase in January and Gary Moore’s horses do well at Sandown, but Paul Nicholls will have his team ready to fire this afternoon and I’m taking GREANETEEN to retain his crown.
It’s been well documented that the form of the Ultima Handicap Chase at Cheltenham couldn’t be working out much better, with Corach Rambler winning the Grand National and Fastorslow winning the Punchestown Gold Cup on Wednesday.
Monbeg Genius was a strong favourite for the Scottish national before pulled out due to the ground and THE GOFFER is the next cab off the rank at Sandown this afternoon.
He was pulled up after weakening quickly in the Irish Grand National on Easter Monday but that spared him a tough race and off the same mark as his Ultima fourth, is taken to bounce back here under Sean Bowen, who had ridden more winners than any other jockey bar the champion this season.
I also think Frodon will give you a good run for your money. We know his game and Bryony Frost, fresh from a double at Warwick on Wednesday, will get him into a lovely rhythm which is important especially down the back straight at Sandown. He is only 2lb higher than when winning the Badger Beer at Wincanton in October and hasn’t been disgraced in top company since.
3.50 PUNCHESTOWN – BRANDY LOVE
The final day’s feature at Punchestown is the Mares Champion Hurdle and a chance for BRANDY LOVE to deliver what she has always promised.
The drift in the market told the story on her comeback from ten months off when she clearly needed the run at Punchestown when fading in the home straight despite travelling the best behind Queens Brook.
She then headed to Cheltenham where she was beaten eleven lengths by Honeysuckle, travelling well but failing to go with the leaders in the straight. She was just under ten lengths behind Love Envoi but did beat her by eight at Fairyhouse last year as a novice and she looks overpriced at around 6/1 to finish ahead of her Cheltenham conquerors.
This is a competitive handicap chase but RAMILLIES does look attractively weighted off a mark of 144 after just three starts.
His chase debut was promising when beating a well backed stablemate before losing a Naas Grade 3 in the steward’s room for late interference. He was then pulled up in the Broadway at Cheltenham but he has been highly tried throughout his career and a first foray into handicaps at a track where he won a maiden hurdle can be rewarded under Danny Mullins.
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